BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- The Chicago Fire are in discussions with the LA Galaxy regarding the rights to Robbie Rogers, the club’s President of Soccer Operations Javier Leon confirmed Tuesday.
Rogers began training with the Galaxy two weeks ago and last Sunday said if he returned to MLS, he would prefer to do it near his home base in Southern California.
“When we traded for Robbie’s rights with Columbus and gave up a player like Dominic Oduro, we were happy to receive a young player in Dilly who we believe has tremendous potential but most importantly at the time, the main motivation was to get the rights to Robbie,” Leon said via conference call Tuesday.
READ: Fire would like to have Rogers in Chicago
Prior to Rogers’ announcement that he was gay and subsequent stepping away from the game, the Fire had been in touch with contacts in England that indicated a strong possibility Rogers would return to MLS.
Leon also pointed to conversations had with his former Columbus Crew teammate Guillermo Barros Schellotto who gave high praise to the U.S. international.
“With all of that and the fact that now we had let Marco Pappa fulfill his dream to play in Europe and Alvaro Fernandez had been sent over to play in the Middle East, we decided this is the perfect opportunity to have potential in the short term, for not having those players.”
“That was our rationale. It wasn’t ‘let’s get some sort of chip that we can use for some value’. In that particular case, it was looking at our team and figuring out in this particular case it was how is this guy going to fit our needs and make us better.”
Rogers has been quoted as saying,"I think if it comes down to you can only play in Chicago, then I probably won't go back.”
Leon, who along with Fire owner Andrew Hauptman met with Rogers and his agent last week, said he understood the player’s desire to return to the game in a familiar setting but was adamant that he needs to look out for the club’s best interest in any deal that would see Rogers join the two-time defending MLS Cup champs.
“Now that the Galaxy are interested in getting his rights, we need to be able to find a solution for the value that we’d be giving up. If at this moment the Galaxy are going to say they want him, we would expect to get a similar value.
“Therefore we will speak to them and we’ll listen to what they have to say.”